Some airlines are switching their handling operators. | MDB


Airlines at Palma airport are benefiting from a price war between handling operators. With the summer schedules now starting, airlines have switched operators, with Groundforce the one most affected by these changes. Volotea and Alba Star are using competitors and more significantly so also is Eurowings - the Lufthansa airline is due to become Palma's number one this year in terms of traffic (around 20% of the total).

Groundforce has Air Europa and Tui's airlines. Iberia Handling looks after the IAG group of airlines - Iberia Express, British Airways and Vueling - plus Transavia among others. Acciona is the beneficiary of the switch from Groundforce.

Workers are naturally affected by this, as there is a new process of transfers as set out in the handling agreement for the airport. The main unions - UGT and USO - are concerned that once more it will be the workers who suffer. The airlines will benefit from lower costs but workers will continue to experience a lack of job security.

USO is seeking the mediation of the airport director, José Antonio Alvarez, in ensuring that there are no employment irregularities because of the employee transfers. The airports authority Aena says that the handling service is an issue of the free market. Airlines choose operators that most match their needs. "It is an option they have and of which they can take advantage."

In the months of high summer, around 2,000 people are employed for handling duties at the airport. These cover a range of tasks, such as baggage handling, cabin service and passenger service.